Chapter 3 - Jordis

black & white photo of adult Jordis
Jordis all grown up

Jordis proved to be a delightful girl, but I can still feel the horror we went through when, on her first walk, she suddenly screamed, in obvious pain. It turned out that nettles were a new experience for her, but the thoughts that went through our minds before we realised. Arpad, however, had a hard time, as he was the only dog in a household of bitches. We still were having the odd Irish Wolfhound litter, and also had Mabel, a Glen of Imaal terrier (you wouldn’t have two!!), and a couple of older Rottweilers, so a lot of his life was spent away from the other dogs. Eventually, we felt he needed his own home, and so he went to live with a family, where he spent several happy years. He was not much of a “Show dog”, but he did offer the opportunity of fresh genes (remember this was before Pet Passports looked possible), and, although his hip score was outside the club guidelines at 14:14, after much soul-searching, and with encouragement from the club president, we let him be used on a bitch of Min Inches’, who had a very low score (1:0, from memory). This caused some controversy, but, in contrast to the litter from Tegan, all the hips scored in the puppies were below average.

Jordis, then, was our future. Our first thoughts turned to a lovely dog, Cassie, Tegan’s brother, owned by Michelle Cleminson, but, try as we might, we never succeeded in achieving a mating. She even stayed with Michelle for a couple of weeks one season, a visit that came to a dramatic end when we had a frantic telephone call from Michelle at 10.30pm to say that Jordis had been scared by some youngsters, and was missing on the streets of St. Ives (Huntingdon, not Cornwall, thankfully). For three hours round midnight, there were the three of us walking the streets, calling to Jordis. As we had split up, the police kept a beady eye on us, and it was thanks to them she was finally found, although John had to approach her for about 25 yards on his knees, so she wouldn’t feel anxious. She was finally coaxed into the van, but didn’t relate to us until she was reunited with Tegan. Ever thereafter, she was reluctant to be out of our sight.

Jordis with her first litter
Jordis with her “pioneer” puppies

Janet Kibble came up with a solution to our stud dog problem in the form of her Finnish import “Baron”. In view of the difficulties Jordis had already gone through, and perhaps because we were now appreciably nearer her at Cambridge, having moved from Ripley in November 1993, Janet kindly agreed to bring Baron over to us, and on home turf Jordis was comfortable with him, and a litter duly resulted, all black and gold (our preference!!), one bitch and four dogs, in May 1994. As we had only just taken on our shop and were finding out just what a commitment it was becoming, we were wary of taking on a puppy right then, and Fiona from Scotland came down with Min Inches with a view to taking the bitch on a “shared” basis. Fortunately for us, in what must be one of the luckiest moments of our lives, she decided she would only have the bitch if she didn’t have to share…..we decided to keep our “Chelsea”…..Min, who had only come to help Fiona in her judgement, took a shine to one of the dogs, and went home with “Cody”, who proved over the years to be a consistent winner for her in the show ring. Chelsea (named after the bun, rather than the football team, or anyone) proved to be the most remarkable and resourceful bitch, and life would be very different, and much less fun, had we not kept her.


Unlike a lot of countries, the naming of puppies in the UK is purely a matter for the breeder. Even so, some UK breeders use an alphabetic system (1st litter, names all start with “A” and so on). We have opted for themes for each litter, often reflecting current events, in our lives or more nationally, or sometimes on a whim. For example, Tegan’s litter all had place names in Bermuda, where our eldest daughter had just started work. Jordis’ first puppies were all supposed to be pioneers, Cody’s name being Douglas and Maggie Spencer’s Timber being Hudson, both explorers. Chelsea was intended to be named after Sir Edmund Hillary (Everest and all that), but we spelt it wrong !! Jordis’ 2nd litter were named after clothing…don’t ask!!!


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